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Former Swansea Visteon workers pledge to continue pensions battle

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 07, 2012

By Gill Roberts

Linemar Unite union convenor Rob Williams protesting with former Visteon workers in 2009

Linemar Unite union convenor Rob Williams protesting with former Visteon workers in 2009

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FORMER Visteon workers fighting to protect their pensions have pledged to battle on in the new year.

Visteon UK, in Fabian Way, was created out of Ford in 2000 and pensioners argue they were given assurances their pensions would be protected.

But workers fear losing up to 50 per cent of their pensions after Visteon UK went into administration.

On Tuesday, MPs from across the country met in Westminster Hall to discuss the plight of Visteon pensioners and to encourage Ford Motor Company to exercise its duty of care to its former employees.

Swansea-based Mike Gard, of the Visteon Pension Action Group, who worked for Ford for 34 years, said they would fight tooth and nail to get their pensions.

"The battle will go on," he said. "We are not going to go away."

Mr Gard, 63, said their campaign would continue and they hoped things would be finally sorted in the new year.

"There is a big court case in May for 10 days in London," he said.

"But hopefully it will be sorted out by then.

"We are still meeting once a month at the Railwaymen's Club in Swansea.

"We have had a lot of positive meetings. It is the fourth Christmas and we are still working hard.

"In Basildon they are still picketing the garages after three-and-a-half years.

"All of the MPs have been really supportive. AM Bethan Jenkins has been a real supporter, we can not praise her enough."

Earlier this year an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was formed to press the case for more than 3,000 former Visteon UK workers. MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies, who is vice-chairman of the APPG group, said: "Ford has a moral duty to make good the pensions of former Ford employees who were given assurances that their pensions would be protected.

"Instead, their pensions had been under-funded, and Ford has a duty to make good the shortfall.

"Ford needs to understand it cannot simply brush this matter under the carpet."

In a previous statement, Ford said: "While Ford recognises the severity of the situation for former Visteon UK employees, Visteon became an independent company in 2000 and was responsible for its own business decisions."

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